By Kristin Dewey, BlogPaws Special Projects Manager
This weekend, millions of Americans participated in a National Day of Service, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. With today, January 21st, 2013, being Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Day of Service has been extended through the long holiday weekend, with people across the country volunteering every way you could think of to 'serve others' as Dr. King taught.
Nonprofit and charity organizations, are hosting special projects taking advantage of the large numbers of volunteers coming out to help clean and make repairs and improvements to facilities. Hospitals and retirement homes have extra visitors, spending a few hours to make the world a little better. You may have seen Food Banks in front of your local grocery stores, collecting groceries for needy families - or Pet Food Banks at your local pet stores.
If you have a little time to spare today - maybe you're off work, or don't have quite as hectic a schedule as usual - try to do a little something extra today. This would be a great day for a Shelter Drive-by, to brush and socialize a shelter cat, take a rescue dog for a walk, or make a donation to help others serve in an area you have a special interest in. Of course, it could be spending some extra time with someone who you help in some capacity every day - a parent, a child, a pet, an elderly neighbor.
I realize that many people reading this actually dedicate their lives to helping others - people, animals, the environment... Perhaps you could spend a few moments reflecting on Dr. King and his philosophy of service, nonviolence, compassion and empathy, and how it relates to what you do in your own life.
Give yourself a big hug for all the time and effort you give away, and remember to keep a balance. They say to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, so you'll be able to help your children and companions.
While you're out there making a difference, don't forget to breathe! Drink lots of water, get enough exercise and sleep, eat... Take care of yourself, or selfless service won't an option. How do you keep yourself grounded while you're saving the world?
Did you, or are you, participating in any extra volunteer activities for MLK, Jr. Day? I'd love to hear about them!
Martin Luther King Jr. photograph by Phil Stanziola, NYWT&S staff photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Dr. Other photos by Kristin Dewey.